USMEF, Texas Beef Council Host Great American Barbecue in Hong Kong

In an annual holiday tradition made possible through the outstanding support of the Texas Beef Council, USMEF-Hong Kong and the American Consulate General recently held their Great American Barbecue event at Hong Kong’s expansive Kowloon Cricket Club. The theme of this year’s event was The Great American Barbecue 2010 – a Texas Treat.

About 500 of Hong Kong’s most prominent food and beverage operators, retailers, executive chefs and meat importers were in attendance, along with a strong turnout of sponsors and local media. This year’s event attracted the largest number of beef packers (nine) and brands (12) ever to participate. In a new feature this year, restaurants were paired with a packer/importer in each booth for preparation of signature dishes. 

Attendees at The Great American Barbecue Event in Hong Kong, dine at tables with balloons and cowboy hats while trying a variety of US prepared beef, pork and lamb dishes Roughly 1,500 pounds of U.S. beef were served in a wide range of dishes – including slow pit roasted beef, steaks-to-order, as well as traditional Japanese, Korean and Chinese cuisine. Anders Nelsson, a highly recognized songwriter and music producer in Hong Kong, acted as master of ceremonies and articulated stories of the Texas culinary tradition.

“Year after year, the Great American Barbecue is regarded as one of the finest and most anticipated food events in Hong Kong,” said Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific region. “It’s only through the wonderful partnership USMEF has with the Texas Beef Council and USDA that we are able to coordinate such a first-class display for U.S. beef and many other U.S. products.” 

For the Texas Beef Council, the Great American Barbecue represents an annual opportunity to showcase beef prepared Texas-style and reaffirm its commitment to global marketing.

“If there is one thing the Texas Beef Council has learned over the years, it’s that international marketing is not something you jump into and jump out of,” said Executive Vice President Richard Wortham. “Global marketing is something you have to build on and sustain, constantly working to build key relationships. The Great American Barbecue offers a wonderful opportunity to do just that, and in one of the fastest growing markets in the world for U.S. beef.”

U.S. pork was also featured at the barbecue, including pulled pork shoulder for sandwiches, bone-in pork chops and smoked sausages. Grain-fed U.S. lamb racks were also a popular item at the event.

While mainland China remains closed to U.S. beef, Hong Kong has been an excellent market in 2010. Through October, exports of U.S. beef to Hong Kong have totaled 28,400 metric tons (62.6 million pounds) valued at $108 million. This is a 53 percent increase in volume and a 70 percent increase in value over last year’s pace.

U.S. pork exports to Hong Kong are down slightly this year, but still totaled 141,608 metric tons (312.2 million pounds) valued at $202.1 million through the first 10 months of the year. Hong Kong is also a promising market for U.S. lamb. This year’s exports remain relatively small (64 metric tons or about 141,000 pounds) but have more than tripled in value over 2009 by reaching $259,000 through October.

*All totals above include muscle cuts and variety meat.